First County Bank Profile

#FridaysinFairfield: Meet Amal Hamioui

Meet Amal Hamioui, Teller, Fairfield Branch in this final edition of #FridayinFairfield.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Amal Hamioui I recently moved to the United States two years ago from Morocco after finishing my Bachelors in Economics.  It’s been hard leaving everything behind but so far the new experience has been worth it.

Moving to this country has taught me to be independent; it has also motivated me to become a better version of myself. My goal is to not only be a successful individual but also to be successful in my career.

What separates First County Bank from other Banks?
I think because we are a community bank and we’ve been in existence for a very long time, we consider and treat our customers like family and our number one priority is to help them, and that what separate us from other banks

What excites you the most about the new Fairfield Branch?
The opportunity to learn and grow with very supportive colleagues in this new position.

What’s something someone may not know about First County Bank?
First County Bank offers online banking which I believe to be an important service that accommodates our fast-paced life. This service offers customers the ability to deposit checks and use the money management tool to manage their accounts.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite moment is when I interviewed for the job; I was welcomed as a member of the First County Bank family, it just felt like it was the right place to be from the start.

Sponsorships & Events

Mark Your Calendars: Women in Business Event May 16th

On Wednesday, May 16th Moffly Media will host their 10th Women in Business Event with First County Bank as one of the presenting sponsors.

This event will be hosted at the Greenwich Country Club from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Women of Influence Honorees include:

  • Keynote Speaker – Emilie Rubinfield, President, Carolina Herrera
  • Corporate Leader – Dr. Alisa H. Bahl, PhD, Senior Vice President, Clinical Health Solutions, Optum Health
  • Entrepreneurs of the Year – Flavia Cattan Naslausky & Camilla Gazal, Co-Owners, Zaniac Greenwich and Co-CEOs, Summit 7 Holdings, LLC
  • Women’s Business Advocate – Tracy Chadwell, Founding Partner, 1843 Capital

For more details or to purchase tickets, click here or visit: womeninbusinessfc.com.

Trends & Tips

Small Business Guide to Corporate Account Takeover

Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business’s finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable.

Cyber thieves target employees through phishing, phone calls, and even social networks. It is common for thieves to send emails posing as a bank, a delivery company, court, or the Better Business Bureau. Once the email is opened, malware is loaded on the computer which then records login credentials and passcodes and reports them back to the criminals.

How do I protect myself and my small business?
Consider these tips to ensure your business is well prepared:

  • Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.
  • Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.
  • Partner with us to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to us about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services offer call backs, multi-factor authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits that help protect you from fraud.
  • Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.
  • Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover.

For questions, feel free to contact our CustomerFirst Contact Center at 203.462.4400 (Mon. – Fri., 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). To read more articles like this, click here or visit: www.firstcountybank.com/your-security.

Small Business Profile, Sponsorships & Events

Two Can’t-Miss Events for Local Small Businesses


If you’re a local small business, here are two events you shouldn’t miss.

Financing Options for Small Business
This free SCORE Small Business Workshop, takes place at the Darien Library, Tuesday, May 8th from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. co-sponsored by Darien Library and First County Bank. This workshop will inform you about the different ways for small business owners to find capital sources via various Small Business Administration (SBA) Loan Programs. SBA programs work with commercial banks and nonprofit lenders to help small business owners.

Click here or the link below to Register Today.

Link: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=iihhcwbab&oeidk=a07ef6440mua7a9ac46

Cybersecurity…Don’t Be a Victim!
This Business Panel Discussion is open to the public and takes place at the Darien Library Community Room, Wednesday, May 16th. Check-in begins at 5:15 p.m. followed by the panel discussion and networking opportunities from 5:45 – 7:00 p.m.

Members of the panel:

  • Mark Rosenbloom, Vice President, Manager of Cash Management Services, First County Bank
  • Garry Feldman, Founder, U.S. Computer Connection
  • Sherwin Yoder, Partner, Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey, LLP
  • Mark Schulz, Vice President & Account Executive, Victor O. Schinnerer & Company
  • Moderator: Jack Horner, Merrill Lynch, Darien Chamber of Commerce Chairman

No registration required.

Bank News, In Our Community

First County Bank and Bobby Valentine Sports Academy Collaboration

First County Bank along with Bobby Valentine and his team are excited to announce a new collaboration between First County Bank and the Bobby Valentine Sports Academy (BVSA). First County Bank is now the official field sponsor of BVSA’s new 40,000 square foot indoor sports facility.

BVSA has been in Stamford for over 12 years and recently moved into its new facility located at 4 Largo Drive in Stamford, CT.  The new BVSA building boasts 40 foot ceilings, a 15,000 square foot turf field, two multi-surface areas and six batting cages. On any given day, you can observe one-on-one baseball and softball instruction, team practice on the full field, lacrosse skill training and IQ development, soccer team/small group training, football practice for local high schools and even large scale community events that can host over 800 guests.

“First County Bank’s relationship with Bobby Valentine and BVSA is exciting to the Bank and exemplifies its mission to support local communities in Fairfield County. The BVSA facility is quickly becoming a sporting home for young athletes and families in Fairfield County, and hosts corporate events, fundraisers and sporting tournaments,” said Rey Giallongo, Jr., chairman and CEO of First County Bank. “The functionality of the facility and its multi-sport activities provide opportunities for the community to train, network and create lasting relationships which supports our strategic community-minded mission.”

“First County Bank has been servicing our community since 1851. They have a personalized approach to customer service as does BVSA. We believe when you find a partner that treats others the same way you do, it makes for a great like-minded relationship,” said Bobby Valentine. “I am thrilled with our partnership with First County Bank. Teaming up with such a great local banking institution is an honor.” Mr. Valentine is a Stamford native and has been a First County Bank customer for most of his life.

First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Jagjiwan Singh

Jagjiwan Singh

Meet Jagiwan Singh, Business Development Officer in this First County Bank Profile as we celebrate National Small Business Week.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I have been with the Bank in the Business Banking Division and in this position as Business Development Officer for almost two years. I love what I do as I get to meet business owners and help them in any phase of their business cycle. In my free time, I love spending time with my wife and two boys; our favorite activity is going cycling in the summer time to the beach.

What separates First County Bank from other Banks?
I came from mid-sized and large banks therefore I can personally tell how we differ from other banks and its simple: we are a mutual bank therefore we do not have the pressure of reporting back to shareholders; instead we can focus on our customers, community, and employees.

Another thing that makes us different is flexibility with our business lending products and criteria.  Did you know that we have a small business loan product called BusinessFirst Express that is very streamlined and delivered like a fintech solution?  The decision process can be as short as 48 hours!

What excites you the most about the new Fairfield Branch?
It’s a great feeling being in Town of Fairfield, especially downtown as Fairfield is such a welcoming community! We were welcomed by First Selectman Mike Tetreau and Chamber of Commerce President Beverly A. Balaz.

What excites me the most is the energy level we have in the branch; the whole team from Branch Manager to Tellers are thrilled to be part of this great location!

What’s something someone may not know about First County Bank?
Most of the nonprofits I have visited in Fairfield County do not know how much we have given back to the community. They do not know about our First County Bank Foundation which was started in 2001 or that it has provided over $8.2 million in grants and this truly shows who we are.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
When I started with First County Bank it was Summer of 2016 and my Manager Rich Evanko provided me with over 10 checks to be delivered to nonprofit organizations. I was shocked as coming from a big bank we had never done anything like this; it was a great feeling that I can never forget. The smiles on the faces of those who really needed the funds showed me how much we really care about the community in which we serve.

Small Business Profile, Smart Savings Tips

Celebrate National Small Business Week

This week, National Small Business Week will be celebrated across the country. We constantly hear the challenges and successes of starting and maintaining a small business; however, we don’t hear enough about the impact small businesses make in our community.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced, “National Small Business Week is being held from April 29-May 5 and is an annual event hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration to recognize the nation’s top small businesses, entrepreneurs, small business advocates and champions. Every day they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.”

We look forward to celebrating Small Business Week this week and every week by continually highlighting business events in our community and financial solutions for small businesses. You can participate by shopping local and continuing to support local, small businesses.

First County Bank Profile

#FridaysinFairfield: Meet Jorge Palencia Soto

Meet Jorge Palencia Soto, Teller at our Farifield Branch in this edition of #FridaysinFairfield.

Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi everyone, my name is Jorge Palencia Soto. I was born and raised in Stamford, CT.  I started with the Bank in the beginning of July 2017, I have worked for 8 months now. I started at the West Main branch as a floating teller, I was later transferred to the Shippan Branch. As a “floater” I have had the opportunity to learn a lot of things and have gotten to know a lot of people. So far I have been able to work at 8 branches! In my spare time I like to dance and go out with my friends.

What separates First County Bank from other Banks?
I believe what separates First County Bank from other banks is the customer service we provide; from the minute a customer walks in we greet them and make them feel welcome and at home, because as our logo says, “It’s where you belong”. Also another great thing about the Bank is the diversity of our tellers, this makes it easier for the customer to come, get help and actually walk out satisfied.

What excites you the most about the newly opened Fairfield Branch?
What excites me the most about the Fairfield Branch is that we are located in the middle of Fairfield, there are many nice places to visit in this area.

What’s something someone may not know about First County Bank?
Something that someone would not know about First County Bank is that we offer similar products and services as other banks, but the best part is that we do it with the best customer service.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite First County Bank moment is being the floater and getting to know new customers and coworkers!

Bank News, Customer Profile, Smart Savings Tips

First County Bank Announces Winner of FirstPrize $avings Account Drawing

First County Bank is excited to announce the recent winners of the FirstPrize $avings account $1,000 drawing is Manav Des Puri of Stamford, CT. This innovative account called FirstPrize $avings is a basic savings account with a cash prize drawing component to promote personal savings. With each eligible deposit of $25 or more, the account holder earns an entry into a drawing for a $1,000 prize. The drawing occurs four times per calendar year.

Bob Granata, president and COO, Mirella Martina, AVP, branch manager and Reyno Giallongo, chairman and CEO of First County Bank, present Manav Des Puri with $1,000, as winner of the recent FirstPrize $avings account drawing. To encourage personal savings, the $1,000 prize is directly deposited into the winners’ FirstPrize $avings account. Account details, rules and regulations are posted on the First County Bank savings account website: https://firstcountybank.com/firstprize-savings.

First County Bank Profile

AITE Branch, Student-Employee Profile: Meet Anoushka Chatterjee

Anoushka Chatterjee, First County Bank, AITE Branch Student-Employee.

In this First County Bank Profile we stopped by our limited-access branch at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE) in Stamford to meet soon-to-be AITE Graduate Anoushka Chatterjee.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a senior here at AITE and will attend Indiana University in the fall, I was admitted directly to the Kelley School of Business. I hope to major in Information Systems with a minor in either accounting or finance. My interest in business sparked when I took accounting last year, and I look forward to continuing my passion for the next four years.

Outside of school, I am a swimmer and swim for Zeus and Norwalk High School Girls Swim Team. In the fall, I was named FCIAC Scholar Athlete of the Month. I currently live in Norwalk, with a sister who attends the University of Wisconsin. Since my junior year, I have worked at Kumon Tutoring Center in Westport as well as played the cello in the Norwalk Youth Symphony. This is my second term working at the First County Bank, AITE Branch.

What were your initial thoughts about being a First County Bank, AITE Branch student-employee?
Initially, I thought it would be a great opportunity especially since I took Accounting I last year, and continued with Accounting II this year.

I also thought it would be perfect exposure to be a part of a business and learn how to consult with customers as a high school senior. Attaining these skills will benefit me as I go into business school, as I will have a better idea of what it’s like to work in the real world.

What surprised you the most about your experience in the financial industry?
I was surprised with the sense of responsibility that came from learning all the terms of confidentiality and detail to accuracy required. I was impressed with how technology has become so advanced in today’s society to make banking transactions easier for this job. Today there is apple pay, remote deposits, and the ability to deposit checks on mobile once we receive it.

What’s a key educational takeaway from your experience?
A key educational takeaway from this experience would be from the monthly BAI tests that we are required to take. They are essential for our jobs and allow us to learn a new skill each month. Some examples of what we have learned are: Identity theft (defend against someone from having their identity get stolen), OFAC regulation (determining someone’s past and risk), bank safety/robbery training (how to stay safe during a robbery).

How will you use the skills you’ve learned in college?
With this job, I’ve really learned to be disciplined and the importance of deadlines. Since I am pursuing business, everything I learned in financial services will help me for when I have presentations, internships and job opportunities. Managing money with today’s expenses and high costs is not easy, which is why it’s important to save as much as possible and start a 401(k) in the first job you get.

What financial tip or lesson would you share with a friend or family member based on your experience?
If there was one thing I learned from this experience, it would be how essential it is to be responsible with money and managing spending within means of your current salary. It’s extremely vital for people to understand the importance of budgets and how much one can spend. After going through this experience, I learned how difficult it can get having to pay off debts, so I strongly believe that one must value the concept of saving money.